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Berlinale Blogger 2018
#BerlinalePeople: Matthijs Wouter Knol, head of European Film Market

Matthijs Wouter Knol
Matthijs Wouter Knol | © Juliane Eirich

Matthijs Wouter Knol talks about the importance of German co-productions for the international film business and how Canada relates to the European film market. We also learn which German film is his favorite movie.

By Jutta Brendemühl

Name and role: Matthijs Wouter Knol, Director of European Film Market at Berlinale since 2014; 2008-2014 Head of Programming Berlinale Talents; 2007-2008 IDFA Industry Office and 2001-2007 documentary producer in Amsterdam.

This is my 12th Berlinale (and the 30th market anniversary)!
I have visited the EFM as a producer since 2006, before I started working for the Berlinale in 2008, so the market was my first connection to the festival in Berlin.

Why the Canada in Focus programme at EFM 2018? 
The Canadian industry traditionally has a strong presence at EFM: Many films are presented in market screenings, and Canada has a prominent spot in the Martin Gropius Bau, the main venue of the EFM. The choice for Canada was therefore not a difficult one —but even more so because Canada is a country at the forefront of innovation when it comes to tech and film, new financing models, bringing startups and film companies together or promoting diversity in the industry. These are all things the EFM is keen on highlighting within the platforms our market has developed over the past years.

Biggest innovation/new initiative/adaptation to new realities and trends at EFM 2018: 
The EFM Horizon innovation platform has grown this year and addresses topics such as blockchain and financing models, artificial intelligence, the future of virtual reality, how to create a more diverse and strong industry, how producers and sales agents are changing their business models. Apart from that, we have revamped our platform for producers, the EFM Producers Hub, where Canada will present 10 producers to watch, and the platform for the documentary industry, DocSalon. Telefilm Canada will host a lunch for the documentary industry present in Berlin this year.

What makes German co-production opportunities attractive in the global market?
That’d be a question specifically for my colleagues at the Berlinale Co-Production Market. I think it’s the long list of opportunities when it comes to sound design, editing and post-production in Germany, the number of experienced co-producers in the various regions of the country. And of course the numerous funds that are keen to support international productions.

German film or co-production coming out of a previous market I am most looking forward to seeing this year: 
There’s quite a few, but one of my favourites is 3 DAYS IN QUIBERON by German filmmaker Emily Atef invited to the Berlinale Competition. It was at the Berlinale Co-Production Market as well, our dear neighbours at the European Film Market.

The future of film: Netflix or Zoo Palast Cinema, TVOD or Criterion home video? 
I firmly believe that a film should be seen in multiple ways: I want to see it in my cinema in Berlin-Schöneberg but maybe also another time on a streaming platform. Film has been a flexible medium that has adapted over and over again to changing circumstances and technologies. The industry has always found a way to adapt as well. I feel that a market like the EFM should help navigate the opportunities rather than keep the status quo no matter what.

Part of an ongoing series of mini profiles on the blog German Film @ Canada on the movers and shakers that make the Berlinale one of the most important events in the international film calendar: the filmmakers, programmers, curators, industry promoters and visitors, from rookies to veterans.